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Veterans Day: American Indians Serve More

For almost 20 years we have represented veterans and military families nationwide in medical malpractice cases. Our cases arise from care at VA and military hospitals. We are now developing a practice representing American Indians with malpractice claims relating to the Indian Health Service (IHS). Considering our expertise in Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) matters, it’s a logical extension for us, especially as there are serious issues with the care provided by the IHS.

We are trying to expand our knowledge of our potential client base. In doing so. I found this article both fascinating and disturbing.

Sadly, it does not surprise me that American Indian veterans get short shrift from the VA. At its best the VA has problems, often huge ones. Indians have it even worse, but why? As doctors might put it, the answer is multifactorial. However, when you throw in a disconnect between cultures and the relative isolation of many who live on or near a reservation – and you inject real bias, the issues of delay and inadequate treatment have to be compounded geometrically.

Choctaw telephone squad, returned from fighting in World War I. Camp Merritt, New Jersey, June 7, 1919. From left: Corporal Solomon B. Louis, Private Mitchell Bobb, Corporal Calvin Wilson, Corporal James Edwards, Private George Davenport, Captain E. H. Horner. Photo by Dr. Joseph K. Dixon. Courtesy Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University. Image from

We have already learned a lot, which is to say we have a very long way to go in understanding the American Indian cultures.

One thing that immediately jumped out at us – almost certainly in light of our link with veterans – is that Native Americans have a markedly higher proportion of people who serve in the military and, therefore, have a higher proportion of veterans. Considering the history, this seems counter-intuitive, at least at first blush. Economic opportunity probably explains some of it, but I don’t think it tells the whole story. I hope that as we get further into this practice I can get a better sense of this. Regardless, these Indian veterans deserve the respect and gratitude of all Americans, especially on Veterans Day. We owe so much to those who have served.

We do FTCA medical malpractices and we do them very well. Nationwide, we are one of a handful of firms that focus on such cases. We hope that we can help the Native American population, both veterans and everyone else.



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